Tag Archives: UK

A positive experience

There’s a lot of controversy going on about the NHS these days in the UK. There have been so many complaints about incompetent doctors and uncaring nurses that you always see something in the news that make you shiver about it.

However, I have always defended the NHS. In so many years in the UK, I’ve never had a complaint to make. Not that I’ve needed medical services that often, but when I have the service has always been correct. All my GPs, from the very early ones in Portsmouth to the latest ones in Basingstoke have always treated me correctly, with respect, as a person and not as a number.

I had to go through minor surgery earlier this week. Due to the nature of the operation I was worried and stressed. It was my first ever operation of any kind. I’ve been lucky in the past and I’ve never needed medical services going beyond something that can be sorted on a quick A&E visit. So I think it was quite understandable that I was nervous.

From the moment I arrived in hospital until the moment I was discharged the treatment and manner of the staff was fantastic. Reassuring, caring and professional. At no point I felt like I was being looked down on, or even treated with contempt, like I’ve heard so many times on the national news. On contrary, everybody seemed very interested on my name (having an “exotic” surname can be an advantage in certain circumstances), where I came from, and everybody seemed to have friends living somewhere near Málaga.
I really feel sad for all those people who have actually been on the other side of the coin and experienced the worse side of the NHS care. Doctors and nurses probably deal with hundreds of people a day and I would bet that at times it is difficult to just show that you care, because, let’s be honest, they can’t care about every single person on that ward at once! No excuse, I know.. but let’s try to be on their side for once..

So here’s my little contribution, my little piece of praise towards the NHS and especially the gynaecology department at Basingstoke’s Hospital. You were all great and I deeply appreciated it. Many thanks.

Things I “hate” about the UK – Part 1

I love the UK, don’t get me wrong. I came to this country for love, love to the country, its people, its customs, its way of life… But the longer I live here, the more I realise that it is not a perfect country. It has got little faults, little details that make it a bit “annoying” from time to time. This is the first chapter of my “Top 3 Things I hate about the UK”

 Health and Safety.

You have to live in the UK to fully understand what Health and Safety is. It doesn’t really exist in Spain, so for me it was quite a shock to have to include health and safety rules in my day-to-day life. The best example to explain what it is, and how annoying it is, is through this little funny joke:

   Lord Nelson at Trafalgar, 2009:

   Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy.”

   Hardy: “Aye, aye sir.”

   Nelson: “Hold on, this isn’t what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?”

   Hardy: “Sorry sir?”

   Nelson (reading aloud): ” England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.’ – What gobbledegook is this for God’s sake?”
   Hardy: “Admiralty policy, I’m afraid, sir.   We’re an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘England’ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

   Nelson: “Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

   Hardy: “Sorry sir.   All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.”

   Nelson: “In that case, break open the rum ration.   Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle.”

   Hardy: “The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral.   Its part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

   Nelson: “Good heavens, Hardy.   I suppose we’d better get on with it ……….. full speed ahead.”

   Hardy: “I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water.”

   Nelson: “Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history.   We must advance with all dispatch.   Report from the crow’s nest please.”

   Hardy: “That won’t be possible, sir.”

   Nelson: “What?”

   Hardy: “Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest, sir.   No harness; and they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations.   They won’t let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected.”

   Nelson: “Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.”

   Hardy: “He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral.”

   Nelson: “Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

   Hardy: “Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled.”

   Nelson: “Differently abled?  I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card.”
   Hardy: “Actually, sir, you did.   The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

   Nelson: “Whatever next?   Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

   Hardy: “A couple of problems there too, sir.   Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats.   And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt – haven’t you seen the adverts?”

   Nelson: “I’ve never heard such infamy.   Break out the cannon and tell the men to s tand by to engage the enemy.”

   Hardy: “The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

   Nelson: “What? This is mutiny!”

   Hardy: “It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone.   There’s a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

   Nelson: “Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

   Hardy: “Actually, sir, we’re not.”

   Nelson: “We’re not?”

   Hardy: “No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now.   According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water.   We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

   Nelson: “But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.”

   Hardy: “I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir.   You’ll be up on disciplinary report.”

   Nelson: “You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King.”

   Hardy: “Not any more, sir.   We must be inclusive in this multicultural age.   Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules.   It could save your life”

   Nelson: “Don’t tell me – health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

   Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu!   And there’s a ban on corporal punishment.”

   Nelson: “What about sodomy?”

   Hardy: “I believe that is now legal, sir.”

   Nelson: “In that case…………………………. kiss me, Hardy.

Old thoughts

South East

Next month I will have been in the UK for three years. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but it has almost been a lifetime for me. Things that I would have never imagined have happened to me in this time, and who knows what other things are awaiting for me in the near future.

I haven’t been able to get my old myspace blogs in here yet, althought it’s something that will eventually be done. I’d like all my old thoughts to be put together in just one place. I never thought I’d keep a regular blog (or a diary, basically), I just think I’m too lazy and sometimes I just don’t know how to put into words all these thoughts in my head. So now that I have more than three years of old thoughts in writing, I want to keep them.

I’ve been having a quick look at the old posts in my myspace blog. This paragraph deserves some recognition:

“Dejo atrás muchas cosas y no echaré de menos nada. Me siento mal por este hecho, pero es así. My friends gave up on me long ago, and so did my family. Weather and food are stupid things to miss, so I will find myself with me, myself, and I to reach all my expectations. I just count on ME to fulfill my dreams”

I was writing about coming to live in England, all my fears, my worries, all my expectations. I was so damn worried. It was what I had ever wanted, but it still required a huge faith leap to get all my thoughts clear in my head. I was very sure of what I wanted. I just didn’t know how to get there. The “journey” in the end wasn’t that bad. Okay, fair enough, the first month I was in shambles, then the following months weren’t as good as I thought they’d be, and then, about 6 months after arriving my life gave a 360 degree change… But that’s material for another post.